This article is by Brian Sherwin, regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. Brian Sherwin is an art critic, blogger, curator, artist and writer based near Chicago, Illinois. He has been published in Hi Fructose Magazine, Illinois Times, and other publications, and linked to by publications such as The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, Juxtapoz Magazine, Deutsche Bank ArtMag, ARTLURKER, Myartspace, Blabbermouth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Conservative Punk, Modern Art Obsession, Citizen LA, Shark Forum, Two Coats of Paint, Vandalog, COMPANY, artnet and Art Fag City. If you want your blog posts listed in the FineArtViews newsletter with the possibility of being republished to our 19,000+ subscribers, consider blogging with FASO Artist Websites. Disclaimer: This author's views are entirely his/her own and may not reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
Joanne Mattera , artist, critic and established art blogger, recently answered some questions from her readership for an art blog series called Marketing Mondays. One question -- and the response that followed -- caught my attention. It dealt with social networking posts and desperation. The interaction between Mattera and the artist raises several questions about how artists utilize social networking for the purpose of art marketing -- and how those efforts are interpreted by online 'friends'.
The artist made it clear that he/she is annoyed by specific types of posts made by artists on social networking websites. The artist asked Joanne Mattera, "Is it OK to shoot those boors on Facebook who insist on posting pictures of their work with SOLD!!! every time they sell a painting?". The artist added, "Not only is it annoying, it makes me feel crappy because I haven't sold anything in a while.". Mattera responded by stating, "It's one thing for artist friends to share news in conversation or via email about sales or other professional achievements—that's communication between colleagues—but the incessant "sold" announcements on Facebook, usually by the same small group of honkers, are annoying. They strike me as a desperate cry for validation.". Mattera added, "I have two suggestions: Ignore or defriend.". Needless to say, I take issue with Mattera's response.
I, for one, don't think it is fair to assume that an artist is "desperate" just because he or she decides to use social networking to inform people about sold artwork. I don't think informing people about your achievements is a "cry for validation" -- especially if you are using your social networking presence with art marketing in mind (most artists do). If it is a "cry for validation" -- doesn't that mean that merely sharing images of art online is as well? Perhaps exhibiting art, in general, is a 'desperate cry for validation'? In my opinion, Mattera's response has opened a can of worms.
Everyone seeks validation in some way -- I won't deny that. However, that does not mean that one is 'desperate' for seeking it. With art marketing in mind -- I would suggest that artists should be seeking as much online exposure as possible. Artists should try to reach as many people with their artwork as possible. I don't think artists should be ignored or 'defriended' -- as Mattera suggests -- after showing a little bit of online art marketing initiative.
This is the way I view it: there is nothing wrong with wanting to share your art with the world -- and there is nothing wrong with including additional information along with the 'visual message'. Social networking websites are a good platform for accomplishing that. It happens to be a key aspect of online art marketing in general. I, for one, think that it is outdated to suggest that artists should not utilize social networking to point to their art AND achievements. Unfortunately, that is the underlining message of Mattera's response in regard to this specific context.
If you spend as much time on social networking sites as I do you know that people often make trivial posts. Pointblank, I would rather read about a sold work of art than about what the artist had for dinner. I fail to see why this is an issue in the first place compared to 99% of the posts made by the average person. If you have an upcoming exhibit OR you have sold a painting -- don't be afraid to post about it.
Oddly enough, the artist asking the question made it clear to Joanne Mattera that 'sold art' posts make him/her feel bad because he/she has not sold any art lately. With that in mind, which is worse... desperation based on reader interpretation of a post OR outright jealousy? I would have told the artist to focus more on his/her online art marketing efforts -- and art studio practice -- instead of wasting energy being jealous about what other artists have accomplished.
In my opinion, it seems petty to remove someone from your social networking 'friend' list just because he or she has made it clear that artwork has been sold. If a post like that annoys you... I would suggest that it is your problem -- and you need to find out why you feel that way instead of distancing yourself from everyone who takes pride in selling art.
In closing, I want to know what you think. Are the 'I just sold this painting' type posts a 'desperate cry for validation' in your opinion? Do you find them annoying? Is this an issue of artist online etiquette that I'm 'missing'? Let me know what you think.
Take care, Stay true,